Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Coloured leads

There's a fantastic device in the world of leaded pencils. Actually, it's probably not that fantastic, but it did seem like just what I needed when I found out about it.

Messy lines can be quite troublesome sometimes. After a while of searching for the right shapes, it becomes difficult to tell which lines are the right ones any more. Either that, or the pencils tend to end up somewhere between roughs and finished drawings. It becomes difficult to refine the lines since there is too much clutter. Of course, it's possible to rub out the lines and redraw them, but it tends to be time-consuming and sometimes lines don't rub out completely.
This can become a problem when moving on to inks, since there will be times when guesses will have to be made on positions of unresolved lines.

Coloured leads can be used to lay down a rough draft layer before the standard pencils. In a sense, it's similar to having a light box to draw over your roughs, or using digital layers to create different stages of roughs. The coloured rough is easy to make out from normal pencils so the drawing becomes cleaner, which leaves more room for adding significant detail like folds.

Here I've used a pink pencil to draw in the construction lines for the pose before fleshing out the character (and there's little evil/sadistic me giving critique).

There is more detail and design elements in this drawing, so I've used the pink lead to draw most of the character and a rough design for the outfit. The normal pencil is used to refine details in the design and clear up some line/shape issues. If I decide to ink this drawing, I will have nice and clean lines to work with, which means less guessing about to find lost edges.

The brand which I'm using at the moment is Uniball's Color series. The leads come in a variety of colours at 0.5 and 0.7 mm. Pilot also does a series, the Pilot Eno, but they only do 0.7, which I personally find too thick. To date, I still haven't found any colour lead brand that does 0.3, but I'm guessing that there are material limitations to it.

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